Ask any travel expert why they got into the business, and they’ll likely be quick to shout out a specific destination that stole their heart. Maybe it was the incredible food, the lively arts scene, or the picturesque views that won them over and made them think, I’d like to do this for a living.
While the options are seemingly endless, especially for people who do it for a living, everyone secretly has that one spot that trumps the rest. We asked six travel experts to weigh in on the places that made them fall in love with travel.
Sarah Marston Crocker, the founder and owner of Pathways Active Travel in Boulder, Colorado, grew up hiking hut to hut in the Swiss Alps with her family. But it wasn’t until 2016, when she was between jobs, that a trip to Northern Italy propelled her into the travel industry.
The idea for her active travel company was born on a rocky, rugged hiking trail, the Alta Via 2, in the heart of the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps.
“We had just ascended up to the highest point on the Alta Via 2 and were enjoying a nice gentle traverse while taking in the panorama as we made our way towards Passo Pordoi and closer views of the Marmolada Glacier,” Crocker told HuffPost.
Next, Crocker visited Madonna di Campiglio, a small ski town, and was blown away by how beautiful and accessible this area of the Dolomites was. The visit solidified her desire to create Pathways and share this type of memorable hiking experience with others.
“I fell in love with this place and these mountains — and with the friendly, warm people, the culture and the incredible food,” she said.
Emma Lasiuk visited Costa Rica in her junior year of college to volunteer near Manuel Antonio. She fell in love with the country’s lush green fauna, deep blue sea and pink and orange sunsets. The local people, or “Ticos” as they proudly call themselves, won her heart next.
“I had traveled extensively before visiting here but had never felt so warmly welcomed and safe,” said Lasiuk, now a travel consultant with Costa Rican Vacations. She embraced the Pura Vida lifestyle, filling her days with hikes, early-morning beach swims and wildlife spotting.
When it was time to return to the United States, she was terrified that Costa Rica would fade to a memory — so much so that she instantly booked another trip and eventually moved there full-time.
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